St. Petersburg, Fla. -- Jesse Crain is disappointed he won’t be able to pitch in the All-Star Game later this month because of his shoulder injury.
How he was selected for the American League squad, however, isn’t as much of a bother. Crain -- who on Saturday was named to the AL All-Star team with White Sox starter Chris Sale -- was selected for the team in the players’ vote.
A first-time All-Star, Crain said he’s honored to be a part of the festivities next week in New York.
“I’m speechless on that,” Crain said by phone about the players’ vote. “I play the game because I love it and I try to take it day by day and pitch by pitch and just go out there and do my job. For everyone to vote that way, they obviously respect what I do out there and that means a lot.”
AL manager Jim Leyland made Sale, who dropped to 5-8 with a 2.78 ERA in 16 starts, a manager’s selection. It’s the second time Sale, who has 123 strikeouts in 113 1/3 innings, will participate in the All-Star Game.
Sale also pitched in last year’s game.
Though he’s happy to be going back, Sale said he would have liked a victory against the Rays, when he was saddled with another tough-luck loss. Sale allowed three runs (two earned) over seven innings and struck out nine in a 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
“I definitely would trade that in for a win today,” Sale said. “It’s an honor. I’m very thankful and fortunate to be in that position. It will be a fun day. I’m looking forward to it."
Crain established a franchise-record earlier this season when he made 29 straight scoreless appearances over 29 innings. Sale said AL players made the right choice by voting in Crain over a strong group of relievers, including Oakland closer Grant Balfour. Balfour has converted 22-of-22 save tries.
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“I thought (Crain) deserved it more than anybody honestly,” Sale said. “The All-Star Game is for the best players to go. He’s hands down the best reliever this year without a doubt. It will be fun. That’s awesome.”
It would be better for Crain were he not on the 15-day disabled list. He landed there earlier this week with a right shoulder strain.
Crain, who was replaced on the roster by Minnesota’s Glen Perkins, plans to attend the July 16 game and participate in the festivities.
Manager Robin Ventura, whom will be a member of Leyland’s coaching staff, will also represent the team.
“It means a lot,” Crain said. “You don’t get many opportunities. There’s no way I can turn that down. I’m bummed I can’t participate. I’m excited to be there and take my kids on the field that they see on TV and enjoy the moment.”